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As soon as Candy booked her trip to Tampa, I knew immediately where I wanted to take her for dinner - Ichicoro Ane’s in St. Petersburg! It’s no secret that I love this Japanese restaurant and I’ve been dying to take Candy here so I was super excited for her to finally check it out.
On my last visit, I sat in the main dining area, so I wanted to experience the ramenya (meaning ramen shop) area this time. Ichicoro Ane is separated into 4 sections with a bar, drinking lounge, main dining area and the ramenya. There are roughly 6-8 tables in the ramenya section with about 10 stools in the front where you can see the chefs cooking and preparing the meals. We wanted to sit in the front to see all the action in the kitchen.
We started out with Ichicoro Ane’s specialty cocktails, the Golden Saucer and the Fake Mustache. The Black Mage used to be my favorite cocktail with charcoal but the Golden Saucer has become my new favorite drink with gin, lemon juice, rosewater and miso syrup. Who knew a cocktail with miso could taste so good!? The Fake Mustache is equally good with bourbon, pineapple, grapefruit and yuzu cordial but I prefer gin over bourbon so it depends on which type of liquor you enjoy more.
There were some new items on the menu and Chef Noel always impresses me with his unique dishes, so we were excited to try these new additions. I admire restaurants that continually update their menus to adapt to what’s trending and what the customers favor. First, from the appetizer section, we ordered the Tofu Karaage and Sake Matcha.
If you’ve had agedashi tofu (fried tofu) before, the Tofu Karaage is very similar. The tofu is battered in flour, lightly fried and topped with grated daikon (white radish) and thinly sliced seaweed. There was also a sauce that covered the fried tofu that had the right amount of spice to it. I love anything tofu, so this was an instant winner for me. Sous chef, Anthony (a.k.a. Ant), presented the Sake Matcha beautifully and the salmon was cooked just right. The green tea sauce was something different we’ve never tasted before and really enjoyed.
For our entrees, we ordered the Chicken Paitan, which is from the ramen and noodle section of the menu. We’ve tried various types of ramen before but this was our first time trying the Chicken Paitan which had double chicken broth, bamboo shoots, kikurage (mushroom), fried garlic, black garlic and more. I had black garlic in my ramen recently at a ramen shop in California and absolutely loved it, so as soon as I saw that the Chicken Paitan had black garlic, I was all for it. This ramen was packed with flavor with so many yummy toppings.
We also ordered the Shio Ramen, which literally means salt ramen. This is probably my second favorite type of ramen followed by the classic Shoyu Ramen. The Shio Ramen came with a hard boiled egg, fried garlic, sheets of seaweed, lots of green onions and bamboo shoots. The noodles were cooked perfectly in both ramen dishes and that always makes me happy because I cannot stand overcooked noodles.
We probably should have stopped eating after the ramen but another item on the menu caught our attention - the Impossible™ Mapo Tofu, which is a completely vegetarian dish. Mapo Tofu is usually made with ground pork but Ichicoro Ane uses ground Impossible Burger™. I didn’t know what that was at first and found out that this type of burger is entirely made from plants. This dish was exceptional as well and very spicy. The dish is accompanied by a bowl of rice which helps ease the spiciness.
Finally, we come to the best part… dessert! Initially, we were thinking of skipping dessert since we were pretty full but Kyle, the line cook, convinced us that we needed to try the Halo Halo since it was full of goodies and even comes with a toy. As soon as he said “toy”, we were sold. We’re still kids at heart.
We are so glad Kyle convinced us because the Halo Halo was an explosion of colors with Pocky, a mini ice cream cone, colorful mini mochis, purple ube ice cream, shaved ice, condensed milk, flan and the list goes on. They packed so much into this fun dessert and it was truly amazing. Plus, we got our cute little toy, as promised.
If you haven’t been to Ichicoro Ane’s yet, you need to go now. Or if you haven’t been back in awhile, you need to pay a visit again because they are always adding new delicious surprises to their menu. To learn more about Ichicoro Ane’s, check out our original post HERE. You can also watch Chef Noel and Chef Brandon talk about their magical creations on the show, Meet the Chef.
A very special thank you to Kerem, Noel, Anthony, Kyle and Courtney for hosting us and making our dinner at the ramenya such a fun and eventful evening!
ADDRESS: 260 1st Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
HOURS: Open for lunch, dinner, late night and brunch (Closed Mondays)